Dharamshala: With the gradual decline of COVID-19 cases in India since October 2020, and as per the guidelines and SOPs issued by the Central and State governments, CBSE Delhi, and in particular the 10-point guidelines issued by Education Kalon of CTA regarding the reopening of the schools, the Tibetan schools were notified by the respective head offices of the school systems of the gradual reopening of the schools in a safe and phased manner. To discuss the school reopening preparation by the schools, and to provide necessary additional guidelines, the Department of Education, CTA organised a virtual meeting of Secretaries of Department of Health and Education with the heads of the three school systems at 2:30 pm on 5 March 2021. The meeting was attended by Mr Palden Dhondup, Secretary of Department of Health, Mr Jigmey Namgyal, Secretary of Department of Education, Mr Thupten Dorjee, President and Mr Sonam Sichoe, Education Director from TCV Dharamsala, Mr Karma Chungdak, General Secretary of THF Mussoorie, Mr Tsering Dhondup, Director and Mr Tsewang Norbu, Deputy Director from STSS Dharamsala, Mr Tenzin Dorjee and Mrs Tsering Yangkyi from Academic Section of DOE, CTA.
Mr Tenzin Dorjee welcomed the participants and introduced the agendas for the meeting in his opening remarks which was followed by each school heads speaking about the safety and preventive measures taken by the schools to curb the spread of coronavirus; phased reopening of schools, hostel and classroom preparation, and other related matters. Health Secretary, Mr Palden Dhondup commended the safety measures and preparation made by the schools to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and school reopening but at the same time, citing examples from Tibetan communities, he said that some research evidence shows that children are super spreader of coronavirus and the schools being most vulnerable should be more vigilant than ever. He urged the school heads to make necessary arrangements such as setting up of COVID-19 task force and isolation rooms in schools, and the need for regular cleanliness of hostel and classrooms with special focus on bathrooms and toilets. He said that whenever a student or a staff tests positive for COVID-19, the patient should be isolated immediately and the case be communicated to either the settlement officer or local health centre. He also highlighted the proven efficacy of the Tibetan Sorig medicines as immune boosters and how effective they are in the fight against COVID-19 as per numerous feedback received from Tibetan settlements. He encouraged the schools to apply for the Tibetan Sorig medicines for their students and staff to the Department of Health, CTA.
Mr Jigmey Namgyal also lauded the work done by the schools for organizing online teaching during the closure of schools last year. However, he expressed his concerns regarding the students who were not able to attend the online classes from their respective places either due to lack of devices, or internet issues that created a digital divide in society. Therefore, he urged the school heads to identify those students who could not avail the opportunity of the online classes and to provide the necessary support to them after their return to their respective schools. He assured that DoE will make every effort to support the schools as and when required. In the end, the school heads thanked both the secretaries for providing necessary support and facilities for the successful conduct of online teaching, and the funds for the procurement of disinfectant, sanitization and PPE materials. The meeting ended with a thank you note by Mr Tenzin Dorjee.
–Filed by the Department of Education, CTA